Ricoh Imaging, which owns the Pentax brand, says the new Pentax K-S1 DSLR is aimed squarely at mid-level buyers and is designed to appeal with proven imaging technology, distinct design cues and a flat field user interface (UI).
The company says the new camera is built on the many technologies benchmarked in the company’s K-3 advanced DSLR, to wit a newly designed 20-megapixel image sensor and super-high sensitivity of ISO 51200. In addition this model contains in-body shake reduction, an AA filter simulator for effective moiré reduction (it has no anti-aliasing filter), 100 percent field of view glass pentaprism viewfinder, and 5.4 frames per second shooting at a fast 1/6000 shutter speed.
Adding to the user experience is the camera’s unique flat field user interface, which integrates a back-lit LED selection dial, four-way navigation, and a bright 3-inch LCD that breaks tradition of the knobs and buttons found on traditional DSLR cameras.
The simple UI eliminates many of the complexities of a DSLR and provides immediate feedback including shooting parameters, filter selection and effect modes, even in total darkness. The camera’s power switch, mode dial, OK button and grip all feature LED illumination, each of which indicating the current status of camera operation.
The LEDs for the power switch, for instance, stay green during still-image shooting, but change colour to red during movie recording. When the Face Detection function is activated, the number of LEDs illuminated on the grip corresponds with the number of faces that have been detected. The grip LEDs also act as a countdown timer during self timer operation. This LED body illumination gives a decorative illumination to the choice of distinctive body colours.
About that AA filter simulator – by applying microscopic vibrations to the image sensor unit at the sub-pixel level during image exposure, the K-S1’s AA filter simulator provides the same level of moiré-reduction effect as an optical AA filter. Unlike an optical AA filter, which always creates the same result, the simulator lets the user not only switch the AA filter effect on and off, but also adjust the level of the effect.
The K-S1’s SR unit has a flexible design that shifts the image senor horizontally (left/right), vertically (up/down), and rotationally.
The camera features the SAFOX IXi+ AF sensor module, which assures responsive, high-precision autofocus operation with 11 sensors, including nine cross-type sensors, says the company. It also provides a spot beam to assist AF operation in poorly lit locations. Its select-area expansion function ensures that the sensor module keeps tracking a moving subject, even when the subject moves out of a preassigned auto-tracking area, by assessing the distance data collected by neighbouring focus sensors. The AF hold function maintains the in-focus position, even when the AF system loses track of the subject after once capturing it in focus. These functions combine to improve the camera’s accuracy in the detection of moving subjects when its focus mode is set to Auto, and upgrade its auto-tracking performance of these subjects when using a telephoto lens.
By setting the Mode dial to the Effect position, the user can apply the desired visual effect to an image while previewing the outcome on the LCD monitor. It provides a choice of 10 distinctive effects, including three new options: “Fresh” with a crystal-clean finishing touch; “Fade Colour” for an elegant finish with subdued colours; and “Infrared” for a black-and-white finish like that of an infrared photo. The K-S1 also provides 21 digital filters (nine of them applicable during shooting), including a new “Colour Replacement” filter.
The optional Flucard 16GB memory card can release the K-S1’s shutter, provide a live-view image, and browse and download the images recorded on the card using a smartphone or other wireless and web browser enabled device.
The K-S1 captures Full HD movie clips (1920 x 1080 pixels; 30/25/24 frame rate) in the H.264 recording format. It is also equipped with a built-in stereo microphone for recording natural sound during Full HD movie recording.
The cameras comes in three standard colours: black, blue, and white. In addition, two separate colour collections are available: The Fabric Collection, containing four unique colours such as cotton beige and tweed gray – and the Night Sky Collection, with five more colours such as Sunset Orange, Dawn Purple, and Midnight Black.
The Pentax K-S1 kit including an 18-55 mm lens will be available at retailers nationwide in September for a suggested retail price of $849.99. The K-S1 body only will be available for $749.99.